St. Pius V
This holy pope was born in Italy in 1504. He was baptized Anthony Ghislieri. He wanted to become a priest, but it seemed as though his dream would never come true. His parents were poor. They had no money to send him to school. One day, two Dominicans came to his home and met Anthony. They liked him so much that they offered to educate him. And so at the age of fourteen, Anthony joined the Dominican order. That is when he took the name "Michael." Eventually, he became a priest. Then he became a bishop and cardinal.
Courageously he defended the teachings of the Church against those who opposed them. He continued to live a life of penance. When he was sixty-one, he was chosen pope. He took the name Pope Pius V. He had once been a poor shepherd boy. Now he was the head of the whole Catholic Church. Yet he remained as humble as ever. He still wore his white Dominican habit, the same old one he had always worn. And no one could persuade him to change it.
As pope, Pius V had many challenges to face. He drew strength from the crucifix. He meditated every day on the sufferings and death of Jesus. At this time, the Turks were trying to conquer the whole Christian world. They had a great navy on the Mediterranean Sea. A Christian force went to battle them at a place called Lepanto, near Greece. From the moment the army set out, the pope prayed the Rosary. He encouraged the people to do the same. Thanks to the help of the Blessed Mother, the Christians won a great victory. In gratitude to Mary, St. Pius V established the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. We celebrate it each year on October 7.
Pope Pius V died in Rome on May 1, 1572. His feast is celebrated today because May 1 is the feast of St. Joseph the Worker. Pius V was proclaimed a saint by Pope Clement XI in 1712.
We pray today for all the bishops, priests and ministers of the Church.